Water & Work

Water & Work

Water at work

If you belong to the majority of people who spend 60% of their working time at work, then you should not neglect your health during these hours. Water consumption is one of the easiest and most effective ways to take care of our health in the workplace.

The importance of proper hydration at the office

Did you know that office work dehydrates us almost as much as any physical work? Many factors such as workload, stress of deadlines and dry air due to the air-condition or heater in the office affects the normal functioning of our body and increase the loss of fluids even if you do not observe sweat secretion. The loss of these fluids affects our health, and therefore the way we work. We need to remind ourselves to drink water on a regular basis because:

1) We strengthen our self-concentration

Proper hydration is very important for physical and mental health. The human brain consists of 85% of water and even a mild form of dehydration affects our mental state (e.g. concentration, reaction time and memory). Surveys have shown that when men and women are dehydrated, they are much more likely to feel tired, lethargic, and require more effort and concentration than when they are adequately hydrated.

2) We maximise our performance

The loss of even 1-2% of our body’s water is quickly perceived by our brain, thus our mental abilities (e.g. numerical skills, short term memory) weaken. Proper hydration helps improve our work and increase our productivity. The quality of our work remains high and we maximise our performance.

3) We remain alert

Dehydration can also cause headaches, tiredness and loss of concentration, affecting mental alertness. However, those in high-ranking positions that need to make important decisions, or are required to be alert for a number of hours need to think clearly and can enhance their cognitive abilities simply by drinking 1 glass of water (250 mL) every 20 minutes. Moreover, our body’s proper hydration is a great way to soothe headache symptoms arising due to dehydration, and in our workplace these trouble us even more.

4) Improve our collegial relations

Our mood and our behavior in the workplace are affected by the loss of bodily fluids. We may feel agitated, anxious, tired or stressed because of dehydration. Fatigue and bad mood, lead to sudden or bad behaviours. They create problems in our collegial relations and destroy team spirit. However, it has been observed that employees do not only become dehydrated at the workplace, but their bodies start the day with a fluid shortage. We therefore recommend the consumption of water from the early morning hours and throughout the day.

Proper hydration benefits both employees and employers

Proper hydration is now adopted in the culture of the companies. It has been proved that the enterprises that offer their employees a healthy lifestyle during their work, contribute to the well-being of their employees and this does not only benefit employees, but also the companies themselves. This is why most companies have either bottled water coolers, or  point-of-use water coolers with filters, in order to provide quality, clean water to their employees. Finally, healthy employees mean less absenteeism, less physical or mental fatigue, increased productivity, greater self-confidence and fewer injuries at work.

 

Bibliography: “Hydration at work”, Natural Hydration Council, March 2011

“Hydration at the Work Site”, R.W. Kenefick, PhD & M.N. Sawka, PhD

“Working 9 to 5”, foodbev. magazine, 11/2012

"Hydration essential for a healthy body”, European Hydration Institute